From: Asghar Khan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 2:44 AM
Subject: [tanzeemhumhindustani] Indian Embassy receives 1,200 requests for emergency permits
RIYADH: GHAZANFAR ALI KHAn
Tuesday 2 April 2013
Last Update 2 April 2013 2:26 am
Indian workers without valid passports, who wish to travel back to India, may approach Indian Embassy in Riyadh and submit applications for emergency travel certificates, said Sibi George, deputy chief of the Indian mission, here yesterday.
"To facilitate advance documentation procedures for workers in distress, the embassy has already collected 1,200 applications for travel certificates during the last few days," said George.
He pointed out that a growing number of Indian expatriate workers have been approaching the embassy daily for outpasses.
"Out passes will be issued after completion of formalities including exit formalities with the Saudi authorities," said George. "The Indian Embassy is in touch with the Saudi authorities and will notify the community if it receives any information in this regard."
"Outpass will be issued only after the Saudi authorities agree to grant permission for the final exit of the applicants," said a press statement released by the embassy.
The embassy has a 24-hour helpline with updates. Indian expats who already have valid passports do not need to come to the embassy, said the statement.
The embassy urged the Indian community not to panic based on inaccurate reports published by some sections of the Indian media.
"The embassy is fully committed to the well-being of Indian nationals and will continue to address issues of their concern within the framework of applicable Saudi laws, keeping in view the excellent bilateral relations with this country and the welfare of more than two million Indians residents in Saudi Arabia," said the statement.
The recent crackdown on illegal workers has led to the publication of a flurry of reports in Indian media. India's Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi discussed the issue with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid last Friday.
Ravi said the Indian envoy in Riyadh Hamid Ali Rao has been visiting Saudi towns and cities to assess and analyze the impact of Nitaqat on the workers there.
Indian Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal said Air India had not reported any mass return of Indian workers from Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Kerala government has geared up its machinery to meet the likely rush of expatriates. "Homecoming is a reality and we cannot show any laxity on the issue," Minister for Non-Resident Keralites Affairs K.C. Joseph said in a press statement.
He said Saudi Arabia was not willing to extend the cut-off date, that ended last Wednesday, for the expatriates to leave in the wake of implementation of Nitaqat. In Kerala, the state with the largest number of people working in the Kingdom, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said his government will launch a rehabilitation package for those affected by the Saudi localization policy.